Highlands tops Apollo-Ridge in overtime, clinches playoff spot

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | 5:30 AM

The Highlands girls soccer team came within two points of a WPIAL playoff spot last year.

The Golden Rams weren’t to be denied this time around.

Adrianna Vergerio scored with 5 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second overtime of Monday’s Section 2-AA contest at Apollo-Ridge. The golden goal gave Highlands (5-8, 5-6) a 2-1 victory and clinched its first trip to the playoffs since 2016.

The Vikings (6-9, 4-8) were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss. They were hoping to earn a playoff trip for the fourth consecutive season.

“After last year, we really wanted it, and we dug deep to get it,” Vergerio said. “We all put in the effort.”

Highlands wraps up the section slate and caps the regular season Tuesday at Burrell. Apollo-Ridge’s season is complete.

The Golden Rams will find out their playoff fate Wednesday when the brackets are revealed.

“We knew this was going to be a tough game. Both teams were playing for a lot,” Golden Rams head coach Jenna Plummer said.

“Both teams have had seasons where they were in position to play for a lot. We just tried to prepare ourselves a best as possible. We knew we had to find a way to win. We refused to lose.”

Vergerio’s goal came on Highlands’ fifth shot of overtime.

“We wanted to put the ball in the back of the net,” Plummer said. “We weren’t going to be satisfied with a tie. Adrianna’s made some big plays for us this year. I saw the opportunity for her to go. The ball was loose, and she didn’t miss the opportunity to hammer it home.”

The Golden Rams, who held a 16-11 shot advantage for the game, took a 1-0 lead on a goal from sophomore Jessica Cedaka off an assist from freshman Rachel Kline in the 12th minute of the first half.

The Vikings evened the score with 5:46 left until halftime as freshman Kyra Myers scored her first goal of her varsity career as she delivered a shot in a crowd off a corner kick.

Highlands senior keeper Rachel Rhinehart made five saves in the victory, while senior Madison Galinac stopped eight shots for Apollo-Ridge.

Apollo-Ridge came into the game without three key players – freshman Jessica Ross and juniors Anastasia Rabickow and Kenzie Groff – because of injury.

Junior Emily Bonelli left the game in the first half with what coach Matt Ross said was a concussion, and she didn’t return to the game.

Fellow junior Delaney Shaffer suffered a knee injury with 4:25 left in regulation and missed the rest of the contest.

Despite the loss, coach Ross was pleased with the effort.

“For the bodies we had out there, everybody left it all out on the field, that’s for sure,” he said. “They battled the whole game, and I am very proud of them.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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